Sunday, June 3, 2018

Great Spreadwing Damselfly Habitats: Brown-, Yellow-Striped Thoraxes

Summary: North American great spreadwing damselfly habitats from Canada south all the way into Colombia and Venezuela get unique brown- and yellow-striped thoraxes.

female great spreadwing damselfly at Shaw Nature Reserve, Gray Summit, east central Missouri; Aug. 24, 2013: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClaren (Wildreturn), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr

North American great spreadwing damselfly habitats adapt to cultivation alongside roads, streams and woodlands and to naturalism through distribution ranges from southeastern Canada, the United States and Mexico through Colombia and Venezuela.
Great spreadwings bear their common name as the United States' largest damselfly, with equally impressively large wings, and the scientific name Archilestes grandis (ancient, great-sized robber). Common names corroborate the consensus of scientific committees convened by the Dragonfly Society of the Americas, not-for-profit corporation that coordinates annual conferences for enthusiasts and specialists. Descriptions in 1842 by Jules Pierre Rambur (July 21, 1801-Aug. 10, 1870), entomologist from Chinon, France, and specialist in Andalusian and Corsican animals, dominate scientific designations.
Great spreadwing damselfly lifespans expect degraded, fishless, open, poor-quality, urban pools, moderate- or slow-flowing, permanent, small rivers or streams and water-logged forest edges and urban roadsides.

June through November function as optimum, southernmost flight seasons even though August through September furnish wildlife mapping opportunities in Ontario, Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Adult males get to great spreadwing damselfly breeding habitats over clean to degraded ponds, pools, rivers or streams through dragonfly-like steady flight patterns over open waters. They hold down perches on higher branches within a series of adjoining, small territories where they hone unique resting postures of wings held at 45-degree angles. They only interact with females intent upon mating and upon solo or tandem ovipositing (egg-laying) in stem petioles (stalks) and stems of herbaceous or woody plants.
Ants, biting midges, ducks, falcons, fish, flycatchers, frogs, grebes, lizards, robber flies, spiders, turtles and water beetles and mites jeopardize North American great spreadwing damselfly habitats.

Immature great spreadwing damselflies keep dull, faded, light, pale colors and lower size ranges even though all life cycle stages know more robust females than males.
Immature females lead post-hatching to pre-adult life cycle stages away from waterside breeding habitats and leave juvenile phases behind when they look to mate and oviposit. They molt from egg-hatched newborns into larvae, naiads or nymphs and into soft-bodied tenerals before managing 15- to 180-minute, 230-egg oviposits at 44-foot (13.41-meter) maximum heights. Stream members of the Lestidae spreadwing damselfly family need aphids, beetles, borers, caddisflies, copepods, crane flies, dobsonflies, gnats, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, rotifers, scuds, water fleas and worms.
North American great spreadwing damselfly habitats offer season-coldest temperature ranges, northward to southward, from minus 20 to 70-plus degrees Fahrenheit (minus 28.88 to 21.11-plus degrees Celsius).

Beech, bladdernut, cashew, cypress, dogwood, hazel, heath, honeysuckle, horse-chestnut, lily, maple, mulberry, pea, pine, plane, rose, saxifrage, tree-of-heaven, walnut, willow and wintergreen families promote great spreadwings.
Blue to brown eyes, brown thoraxes widely striped once each in brown and yellow, bulbous non-pruinose (unpowdered) abdomen tips and pale heads quicken adult female identifications. Adult males reveal black-ringed, blue-powdered brown-black abdomens, blue eyes and upper lips and brown thoraxes thinly shoulder-striped in green and widely side-striped in brown and yellow. Adults show off 1.97- to 2.44-inch (50- to 62-millimeter) head-body lengths, 1.49- to 1.85-inch (38- to 47-millimeter) abdomens and 1.22- to 1.54-inch (31- to 39-millimeter) hindwings.
Thoraxes without brown and yellow side-stripes versus robust, stout-winged bodies respectively tell on pond spreadwings and on dragonflies in overlapping North American great spreadwing damselfly habitats.

Great spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) joins California spreadwing (Archilestes californica) as North America's two stream spreadwings: Michael Thomas Bogan ‏@mtbogan via Twitter April 30, 2015

My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.

Image credits:
female great spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis); Shaw Nature Reserve, Gray Summit, east central Missouri; Aug. 24, 2013: Andy Reago & Chrissy McClaren (Wildreturn), CC BY 2.0, via Flickr @
Great spreadwing damselfly (Archilestes grandis) joins California spreadwing (Archilestes californica) as North America's two stream spreadwings: Michael Thomas Bogan ‏@mtbogan via Twitter April 30, 2015, @

For further information:
Abbott, John C. Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-Central United States: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Princeton NJ; Oxford UK: Princeton University Press, 2005.
"Archilestes grandis." James Cook University-Medusa: The Odonata - Dragonflies and Damselflies > Zygoptera > Lestidae > Archilestes.
Available via James Cook University-Medusa @
Beaton, Giff. Dragonflies & Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast. Athens GA; London UK: University of Georgia Press, 2007.
Berger, Cynthia. Dragonflies. Mechanicsburg PA: Stackpole Books: Wild Guide, 2004.
Bright, Ethan. "Archilestes grandis (Rambur, 1942: 244 as Lestes) - Great Spreadwing)." Aquatic Insects of Michigan > Odonata (Dragon- and Damselflies) of Michigan > Zygoptera Selys, 1854 > Lestidae, Calvert 1901 (Spreadwings) > Archilestes Selys, 1862 (Stream Spreadwings).
Available @
MaLisa Spring @EntoSpring. "The Great Spreadwing (Archilestes grandis) is Ohio's largest damselfly with a large larvae to match! The larvae are identified by their 3 pronged lips (palpal lobes) and banding on their gills. #OhioDragonfly." Twitter. Feb. 22, 2018.
Available @
Michael Thomas Bogan ‏@mtbogan. "Graceful spreadwing damselflies (Archilestes grandis) thrive in southwestern US #headwater streams. #CleanWaterRules." Twitter. April 30, 2015.
Available @
Paulson, Dennis. Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, Princeton Field Guides, 2011.
Rambur, P. (Jules Pierre). 1842. "1. Lestes grandis, mihi." Histoire Naturelle des Insectes. Névroptères: 244-245. Paris, France: Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret.
Available via HathiTrust @
Available via Internet Archive @

No comments:

Post a Comment